Interactive Displays | News

U.S. Classrooms Slow To Move from Interactive Whiteboards to Flat Panels

Education sales of interactive displays in the United States dropped in the first half of the year compared to last year, pushed out of tech budgets by more focus on computing device purchases. Whereas the first six months of 2013 saw 76,500 interactive boards sold in districts and schools, that same period in 2014 had only 67,000 sales.

Those numbers come from Futuresource Consulting, which tracks market insights on a number of categories, including education technology, in multiple segments. Mike Fisher, associate director of business-to-business electronics, said part of the drop is due to the high penetration — some 60 percent — of interactive displays within K-12 classrooms. "With the long lifetime of interactive whiteboards (estimated to be approximately 10 years), limited replacement demand is currently seen on the U.S. marketplace. This high penetration is the main reason for falling sales volumes," he explained.

Another factor he pointed to was the "gearing up" districts are doing in preparation for Common Core and other state standard online testing. Schools are implementing far more 1-to-1 learning initiatives, "equipping students with PCs [and] tablets." As a result, he noted, institutional purchases of mobile computing devices — notebooks, netbooks and tablets — rose from 3.37 million in the first half of 2013 to 3.9 million during the first half of 2014, "consuming large percentages of ed tech budgets within districts."

Fisher added that U.S. schools are slowly making a transition from interactive whiteboards to interactive flat-panel displays. During the first half of 2014, 91 percent of sales were for the former; the other 9 percent were flat panel displays.

However, in the UK, which is further ahead in adoption of the whiteboard technology and therefore has already reached the 10-year replacement point, schools have already shifted to the flat panels at far greater numbers — 53 percent of sales vs. 47 percent of the older technology.

"The product shift from interactive whiteboards to interactive flat panels is gaining momentum, but has yet to make the jump across to all countries," reported Senior Market Analyst Colin Messenger. "[Interactive flat panel display] volumes are significant, accounting for one in every four displays sold globally." He said the recent ISTE education conference had nine vendors showing the flat panels "which should also contribute to future growth."

The latest Futuresource research also shows that the total display technologies market of interactive whiteboards, interactive flat panels and interactive projectors across all segments will exceed 1.3 million devices by 2018.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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